Kenyans living abroad to sue IEBC over restricted voter registration

Kenya Diaspora Alliance Chairman Dr Shem Ochuodho/file

BY JOHN WERU,NAIROBI,8TH FEB 2017-Kenyans living abroad say they will sue the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for restricting diaspora voters’ registration to the East African Community and South Africa.

On Wednesday, the Kenya Diaspora Alliance, the umbrella body of 34 lobby groups of Kenyans living abroad, said the electoral agency was failing to implement a Supreme Court directive issued in 2015, to ensure diaspora Kenyans participate in elections.

“We have to go back to court because we don’t agree with this decision,” said Shem Ochuodho, the global chairman of the alliance said.

“The Supreme Court in May 2015 said IEBC should put in place the necessary infrastructure to ensure the diaspora registers and votes. From our meeting, it is clear that this infrastructure has not been put in place.”

Officials from the group met with IEBC chairman Wanyonyi Chebukati and Commissioner Rosyline Kwamboka Akombe, who handles diaspora issues.

It followed a decision by the IEBC not to register voters living outside Africa but focusing on the diaspora in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Africa.

Kenyans living these countries will only be allowed to vote for the President, as was the case in 2013.

The Alliance is also taking issue with top politicians in the country in what they say are insincere promises to have them vote.

Dr Ochuodho challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta, Cord leader Raila Odinga and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, the three leader who have recently either pledged to have the diaspora vote or sought financial support from them, to come clear on whether they actually want Kenyans abroad to vote.

Mr Chebukati told journalists on Tuesday that the Commission had faced logistical challenges to spread the service beyond these countries.

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